Amateur Kobori upsets the pros with NZ PGA win
Kazuma Kobori, a 17-year-old amateur, has won the SEC NZ PGA Championship to claim his first victory on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australia.
In a dominant performance at his home course, the Pegasus Golf and Sports Club member maintained an overnight lead to win by four shots from New Zealand’s David Smail with rounds of 67, 65, 66 and 69 for a tournament total of 21-under 267.
Kazuma Kobori (Credit: PGA Australia)
Consistency was key for Kobori who, after pre-qualifying for the event on Monday, recorded only two bogeys throughout the tournament.
“It feels incredible,” said an ecstatic Kobori. “It hasn’t actually sunk in yet but I think it will later on.”
“I saw the leaderboard on 14…saw that I had a four shot lead at that point and I thought that was pretty sweet. I just kept playing my own game and then it was all good.”
In addition to winning the NZ PGA Championship trophy, Kobori was also honoured as the leading New Zealander with the Sir Bob Charles Trophy.
Finishing runner-up at the SEC NZ PGA Championship was New Zealand’s David Smail, completing the tournament with rounds of 68, 66, 70 and 67 to finish on 17-under 271.
“I started off not feeling that confident, towards the end yesterday I started hitting some pretty bad shots so I was just trying to keep it in play,” said Smail who as the highest placed professional takes home the first place prize money of NZD $17,555.
“I putted pretty well all week, it’s probably the first time I haven’t had a 3-putt in a tournament week for a long, long time. My playing was good and I just managed to hit enough good shots to get a good score.”
Applauding Kobori for the win, Smail says he has what it takes to go far having seen him in action against his own son.
“I have seen him play. My son is playing a lot with Kazuma, so I’ve seen plenty of his play over the last few years to know that he’s a real talent. He’s done fantastic this week so it’s good for the future,” added Smail.
Victorian Cameron John has finished in third place on a total of 16-under 272 after a consistent effort across the tournament.
Three players including Blake Proverbs, Mark Purser and Anthony Quayle finished tied for fourth place on 15-under the card.
Next up on the Australasian PGA Tour will be the SP PNG Golf Open to be played from 9 – 12 May, 2019.